Warning: SPOILERS ahead for Power Rangers
Power Rangers is off to a good start at the box office, with most reviews agreeing that it’s a viable reboot to the franchise which entertained us all in the ’90s. Good news for Lionsgate, since they’ve already revealed that there are at least five sequels planned out, which could certainly make stars of its young and highly watchable cast: Dacre Montgomery, Ludi Lin, Becky G, Naomi Scott, and RJ Cyler.
While Power Rangers serves as a good origin, going forward there is room for the franchise to introduce more elements from the original TV series, and a post-credits scene in the movie does just that. When the Rangers return to their Saturday detention, roll call is taken and the teacher calls the name “Tommy Oliver” – but the student isn’t present, and instead we are shown an empty desk and chair, with a green jacket slung over it.
Undoubtedly this is a set up for the Green Ranger being introduced in the second Power Rangers movie. Widely regarded as the most popular Ranger, the Green Ranger was played by Jason David Frank in the original series, but there’s no word yet on who might take up the mantel going forward. The new Rangers have some thoughts on it, though, and they’re keen to even out the gender imbalance within the team. Speaking to THR, Montgomery (who plays the Red Ranger) says he and the rest of the cast would like to see a woman playing the part of Tommy:
“A lot of the cast and I have discussed that we think it should be a girl. It makes it even three girls, three boys.”
While the name “Tommy” might seem to write off this possibility, it’s feasible that Tommy could be a nickname (albeit an uncommon one) for a female character. Montgomery believes the post-credit scene is left ambiguous, and therefore the gender of the character is not set in stone:
“It’s left blank. It’s a cliffhanger. Whoever you’re going to drop into that position — whether it’s a girl, it’s inevitably going to create drama. It’ll be interesting to drop that drama into it and see how we all relate to it and work with it.”
Initially starting out as a villain, brainwashed by Rita Repulsa, Tommy Oliver went on to become the White Ranger, fighting alongside the rest of the team as a force for good. In the new movie it’s revealed that Rita Repulsa used to be the Green Ranger alongside Zordon’s (Bryan Cranston) Red Ranger, so the potential is there for that plotline to be echoed within the movies going forward. Elizabeth Banks, who plays Rita Repulsa, says she’s “down for whatever,” with regards to sequels, and she certainly made for a fun villain, and the movie’s ending leaves plenty of opportunity for her to return in a future sequel and get her claws into Tommy.
From there, of course, we could watch as the Green Ranger switches sides. Originally, the Green and Pink Ranger shared a romance, but that’s not an integral part of Power Rangers history, and this first movie benefited from not complicating the plot further by adding teenage romance into the mix. Ultimately, there’s no reason why Tommy can’t be a girl. Those who have seen Power Rangers will agree that though the Rangers haven’t changed gender from their original counterparts, there have certainly been many other updates to their personalities and backgrounds.
Billy (Blue Ranger) is on the autistic spectrum, and has never had any friends before. His character’s journey of acceptance and self-discovery is easily one of the highlights of the movie. Meanwhile, Zack (Black Ranger) has to learn how to be a decent human, though his bravado is only a mask for his worry over his mom’s health. Jason (Red Ranger) is a wild boy, Kimberly (Pink Ranger) is burdened with something awful she did to a classmate, and Trini is struggling under the pressure of her parents expectations.
It’s testament to both the writing and acting from the cast of newcomers, that the scenes when they’re being regular kids are equally as entertaining and watchable as when they’re being Rangers. To this end, another female character added to the main cast – especially one who is initially an antagonist – would be an interesting dynamic to watch the young team deal with.
Power Rangers treats all its cast exactly the same; gender is actually forgotten in favor of seeing them all come together as a team to fight Repulsa and Goldar. Trini and Kimberly are every bit as strong, capable and determined as the boys, and it’s also refreshing to see the boys treating them as complete equals. Another girl would even up the balance of numbers and give another female role model for young moviegoers. Not to mention the fact that it would be good to see a female martial arts expert fighting villains.
Tommy’s backstory would also be an interesting angle to explore – how and why is she in Saturday detention, who is she in relation to the other Rangers, what makes her so bad, and what, ultimately, makes her good?